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Study on phytoplankton



(17 Jan 2007) - A DECADE of satellite surveys of the oceans has revealed that warmer years cause a decline in phytoplankton, the vast clouds of tiny drifting plants that are a fundamental component of marine life. In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists said the pattern implied that global warming from accumulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases could hurt fisheries and ecosystems, particularly in and around the tropics, where the effect is biggest. If the plants decline, that could also limit the oceans' ability to absorb carbon dioxide, hastening its buildup in the atmosphere, the researchers said. A separate analysis in the journal said warming might also make colder waters more productive but added that further study was needed.



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